Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (FRIPRO)
13 Sep 2023
Information on the transition to an open-ended call
18 Oct 2023
The call for proposals opens for submission of grant applications
15 Jun 2024
Earliest permitted project start
8-18 months after submission
Funding is intended to increase international mobility and promote career development among researchers at an early stage in their careers, as well as to facilitate knowledge transfer to research groups in Norway. The call is targeted towards researchers at the post-doctoral level who are to spend two years at a research organisation abroad and the third year at a research organisation in Norway. Grant proposals will be accepted for projects within all disciplines and research areas.
About the call for proposals
Funding is available to promote free, bold and innovative research and scientific quality at the forefront of international research. Through FRIPRO, we support both basic and applied research with the goal of scientific renewal, where the ideas come from the researchers themselves.
In the FRIPRO scheme, we do not set any requirements regarding the potential for societal impacts in the projects we fund. Grant applications will only be assessed in this area if such possible effects are described in the application.
Competition in FRIPRO is very fierce. Every year, we receive far more applications worthy of support than we have funding to grant. We therefore set a mark requirement to be considered for funding from FRIPRO. Only applications awarded a mark of 6 or 7 from the referee panels for all assessment criteria (on a grading scale of 1 to 7, where 7 is the highest) will be eligible for funding. Even among the eligible applications, only a small proportion is granted. We recommend that you work on improving your application and wait to submit it until you are reasonably certain that it will be considered eligible.
Among the eligible applications, we place most emphasis on the criteria Excellence – potential for advancing the state-of-the-art and Excellence – quality of R&D activities when selecting applications for funding. Priority will be given to projects led by women project managers when the grant applications are otherwise considered to be on a par.
Open-ended calls for proposals for the entire FRIPRO scheme
As of autumn 2023, we will introduce open-ended calls for proposals in FRIPRO. This means that applicants can submit an application at any time, and that the applications will be processed throughout the year. Available funds will be allocated evenly throughout each year, and continuously across calendar years. We will use equalisation mechanisms to ensure that the quality of applications awarded funding is as equal as possible regardless of when they have been submitted.
We plan to open our calls for submission of applications in mid-October. The first announcement of granted applications is scheduled for before summer 2024 and then approximately every two months. Applications do not need to be submitted in October to be eligible for the first round of allocation, and there will be no specific cut-off date for this. The application review time for each application will vary, e.g., by the number of applications received within the same subject area/topic, availability of peer reviewers and randomness. We recommend that you work on making your application as good as possible before submitting it, as the level for being granted an application from FRIPRO is very high. The average application processing time is estimated to be 7-8 months with a slight decrease over time. See "Application review process" further down for more details about application processing.
The FRIPRO scheme announces funding for Researcher Projects for Experienced Scientists, Researcher Project for Early Career Scientists and Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (this call). All three calls will receive applications on an ongoing basis, and all three will open for applications at the same time. You can read more about this on the FRIPRO information page.
Waiting period for all project managers for FRIPRO applications
As project manager for an application submitted to FRIPRO, you will be given a one-year waiting period in FRIPRO. During the waiting period, you cannot be the project manager for a new application for funding from FRIPRO. This means that when you submit an application, you can be the project manager for a new application for funding from FRIPRO at the earliest on the same date the following year. The waiting period applies across all calls for proposals under the FRIPRO scheme, unless otherwise described in the call.
The waiting period also means that you can only be the project manager for one application for funding from FRIPRO at a time. You must therefore choose which of the three calls you wish to apply for funding from. Check the requirements for the project manager and the objectives of each call to see which one is right for you and your project.
Submission restriction period for project managers for FRIPRO applications with a mark average below specified limits
From March 2023, we introduced submission restriction periods in FRIPRO. This implies a restriction on when project managers for applications that have received a mark average below the specified thresholds may apply again. The purpose is to reduce the number of applications submitted before they have been adequately prepared, and to give project managers who do not succeed in obtaining funding the necessary time to develop a stronger application before it is resubmitted.
For a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility, project managers are not given a submission restriction period regardless of mark average, but if you are in a submission restriction period after submitting an application for a Researcher Project for Experienced Scientists, a Researcher Project for Young Talents or a Researcher Project for Early Career Scientists, you cannot apply for funding from a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (FRIPRO) until the submission restriction period is over.
You can find more information about FRIPRO's waiting period and submission restriction period rules on the FRIPRO information page.
When can you submit your application?
You can create an application and fill in the application form when we open for application submission. We plan to do this in mid-October this year.
This is a preliminary call for proposals
The text of this call for proposals is incomplete, and there will be changes until we open for submission of grant applications.
The call is available in both Norwegian and English. The Norwegian call text is legally binding. We reserve the right to make any changes to the call for proposals even after we open for applications. The text of the call at the time you submit your application will apply to your application.
Who is eligible to apply?
Who can participate in the project?
Requirements relating to the Project Owner
The research organisation listed as the Project Owner in the application form must have approved submission of the grant application.
Requirements relating to the project manager
- You must have submitted your doctoral thesis before you can submit the application.
- You must have completed a doctorate before project start-up.
- When submitting the application, no more than seven years may have passed since the date of defence of your doctoral dissertation. If more than seven years have passed, you can apply to subtract leaves of absence, compulsory military or civilian service, seeking asylum or sick leave in accordance with our rules for subtracting time.
Rules for subtracting time:
You may apply to subtract time used in connection with:
The periods to be subtracted must have taken place after the doctoral defence. In order to grant a subtraction, you are required to submit documentation of the time you are asking to subtract with your grant application. You must also enter the time deduction in the application form. We accept documentation from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), physicians/health services and other public bodies (in Norway or other countries), and employers. Documentation from current or former supervisors is not sufficient. If you are providing documentation from an employer, it must come from the employer’s administration department, such as the HR department. The documentation must be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English, or must be accompanied by a certified translation into one of these languages.
We follow the rules for leaves of absence set out in the Norwegian Working Environment Act, and you may apply to subtract time for any leaves of absence you would have been entitled to if you had lived in Norway at the time. For example, you may subtract time for parental leave in a country that does not have statutory parental leave, provided that you actually took parental leave. You must be able to document the leave as described above.
- You will not be eligible to receive funding for a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility more than once.
- At the time of application, you must not have lived or worked in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months during the past three years.
- At the time of application, you must have lived or worked in Norway for at least 12 months in the past seven years.
- You must be employed by the Project Owner (Norwegian research organisation) for the entire duration of the project period.
- You must have completed a master's degree or PhD at a Norwegian research organisation.
- You can only be the project manager for one application to the FRIPRO scheme at a time. You must therefore choose which of the three calls you wish to apply for funding from. Check the requirements for the purpose of each call for proposals to see which one is right for you and your project.
- You cannot be the project manager for an application for a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (FRIPRO) if you are in a waiting period or submission restriction period for the FRIPRO scheme.
- If you are already the project manager for a project funded by FRIPRO, you can only be the project manager for a new application for funding from FRIPRO if the new project has a start date after the end date for the ongoing project in the first approved contract. If you are unsure which date applies to you, contact the case officer for the ongoing project.
Requirements relating to partners
Only approved Norwegian research organisations (see under 'Who is eligible to apply?' above) and equivalent research organisations in other countries are eligible to be partners and to receive Researcher Project funding. Other types of organisations, such as companies and other undertakings, may not be project partners in Researcher Projects.
As Project Owner and/or partner in the project, you can engage subcontractors to provide services and contribute to the implementation of certain tasks in the project. Subcontractors may not be granted rights to project results. Organisations that are subject to the regulations for public procurement must in the normal manner carry out the selection of subcontractors in accordance with these regulations. It is not possible to have R&D suppliers in the project.
A project participant may not have two different roles in the project. This means that a sub-contractor may not serve as Project Owner or partner in the project at the same time.
What can you seek funding for?
You can apply for funding to cover actual costs necessary to carry out the project. The Project Owner is to obtain information about costs from the project partners. These costs are to be entered in the cost plan under the relevant cost category.
Support may be granted to cover the following costs:
- Payroll and indirect expenses: Own salary for three years in accordance with Rates for funding research fellowships. Overhead costs incurred by research organisations abroad and in Norway are included in the rates. If our lump sum rates do not cover all the costs of the position, the difference must be covered through own funding.
- Establishment costs and additional expenses related to the stay abroad: Research grants abroad for the first 12 months abroad.
- Equipment: This includes operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment and research infrastructure necessary to carry out the project.
- Operating expenses: costs for other activities that are necessary to carry out the project's R&D activities. Procurements from subcontractors exceeding NOK 100,000 must be specified. Here you can list up to two return trips Norway and the host country.
You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website on what the budget should contain.
Scope of funding
We can provide funding of a minimum of NOK 4.0 million and a maximum of NOK 4.4 million to cover costs.
Overseas scholarships for the first 12 months abroad
The entire Research Stay Abroad Grant must be entered in the calendar year in which the project starts. See the Research Council's rates.
Conditions for funding
The Research Council will not award funding that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that the funding should only go to your non-economic activity. We require a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities. Our requirements for allocation and disbursement of support for the first year, and any pledges and payments for subsequent years, can be found in our General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects on the information page What the contract involves.
If the project is awarded funding, the following must be in place when you revise the grant application:
- From 2022, all grant recipients that are research organisations and public sector bodies (Project Owners and partners) must have a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) available on their website. This must be in place before the contract is signed for projects awarded funding from the Research Council. The requirement does not apply to private businesses, special interest organisations or the voluntary sector.
- The Research Council requires full and immediate open access for scientific articles; see Plan S - Open access to publications.
- For all projects that handle data, the Project Owner must prepare a data management plan in connection with the revised grant application. Here you will find more information about requirements for data management plans in projects that receive funding from us.
- The Project Owner is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project.
- For medical and health-related studies involving human participants, the Research Council stipulates special requirements and guidelines for prospective registration of studies and publication of results.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
This call encompasses all disciplines and research areas, and we are accepting applications for funding for both basic and applied research.
Requirements for this application type
The application must be created and submitted via "My RCN Web". You can create an application starting when we open our calls in October 2023. You can change and save a created application until you submit it. It is the application submitted that will be processed and you cannot change it after submission..
If the application has deficiencies related to formal requirements, we will ask you to withdraw the application, create a new one and submit it again. If you wish to withdraw an application, you can do so by sending us an e-mail with a copy to the project administrator providing the ES number for the application. Applications withdrawn within one month of submission will not result in a waiting period to submit a new FRIPRO application.
The application must meet the following requirements:
- The grant application and all attachments must be submitted in English, and the attachments must be in PDF format.
- Mandatory attachments must be included.
- Requirements relating to the project manager and Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
- The project manager cannot be in a waiting period or submission restriction period for FRIPRO.
- The project must start between 8 and 18 months after submission of the application.
The application may be rejected if it does not meet the requirements in the list above.
Use designated templates for all mandatory attachments. The templates can be found at the end of the call.
- project description, maximum 11 pages
- CV for the project manager, maximum four pages
- CVs of other key members of the project team, maximum 4 pages each, to be uploaded as the attachment type “CV”. Use the designated template at the end of the call.
- It is your choice to decide who the key project participants are, and whose qualifications should be taken into account in the review.
- You may enclose a short description of qualifications relevant for the assessment of the proposal, or propose up to three referees you think would be qualified to review your grant proposal. The Research Council is not under any obligation to use the proposed referees but may use them as needed.
Other attachments than those specified above, or websites linked to in the application, will not be assessed.
Be careful to upload the correct attachment type, as there are no technical restrictions on what kind of templates it is possible to upload in the application form.
We assess applications in light of the objectives of the application type in question and on the basis of the following criteria:
Excellence – potential for advancing the state-of-the-art
• Scientific creativity and originality.
• Novelty and boldness of hypotheses or research questions.
• Potential for development of new knowledge beyond the current state-of-the-art, including significant theoretical, methodological, experimental or empirical advancement.
Excellence – quality of R&D activities
• Quality of the research questions, hypotheses and project objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly and adequately specified.
• Credibility and appropriateness of the theoretical approach, research design and use of scientific methods. Appropriate consideration of interdisciplinary approaches.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to ethical issues, safety issues, gender dimension in research content, and use of stakeholder/user knowledge if appropriate.
• The extent to which the project, including the choice of the host institution abroad, will enhance the potential and future career prospects of the researcher.
• Quality and appropriateness of the training and supervision of the researcher, and of the integration in the host institutions.
• Potential for transfer of knowledge from the host institution abroad to the Norwegian host institution during the third year of the project.
Potential impact of the proposed research
• Potential for academic impact:
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future scientific challenges.
The extent to which the planned outputs are openly accessible to ensure reusability of the research outputs and enhance reproducibility.
• Potential for societal impact (if addressed by the applicant):
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address UN Sustainable Development Goals or other important present and/or future societal challenges.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and plausible.
Communication and exploitation
• The extent to which the appropriate open science practices are implemented as an integral part of the proposed project to ensure open sharing and wide distribution of research outputs.
• Quality and scope of communication and engagement activities with different target audiences, including relevant stakeholders/users.
• The extent to which the project manager has relevant expertise and experience, and demonstrated ability to perform high-quality research (as appropriate to the career stage).
• The degree of complementarity of the participants and the extent to which the project group has the necessary expertise needed to undertake the research effectively.
The quality of the project organisation and management
• Effectiveness of the project organisation, including the extent to which resources assigned to work packages are aligned with project objectives and deliverables.
• Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks, ensuring that all participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the project to fulfil that role.
• Appropriateness of the proposed management structures and governance.
Below is a simplified description of the application review process.
First, the Research Council administration pre-assesses the grant applications to check whether they satisfy all the requirements set out in the call for proposals. If an application does not meet the requirements, we will ask you to withdraw the application and submit it again with the necessary changes.
Grant applications will be sent to peer reviewers who will carry out a scientific assessment of the applications based on the assessment criteria set out in the call. All grant applications must be assessed by a panel comprising of at least three reviewers.
How do we find peer reviewers?
We encourage applicants to write the application in such a way that it can be understood by peers with general expertise in the research field. We recruit peer reviewers for application processing in FRIPRO both before the calls open for applications and as we receive applications. We have the following general requirements for the peer reviewers we use:
- They must have their workplace abroad.
- They must be active researchers with solid in-house production, both in terms of quality and quantity.
- They should have professorial qualifications. The minimum requirement is associate professor qualifications or equivalent.
Expert Lookup is our most important tool for finding peer reviewers. We perform both automated searches based on project title, goals and abstracts, and manual searches. Case officers then make a thorough assessment of whether the peer reviewers are suitable for assessing the applications for processing. We supplement the searches in Expert Lookup with searches on other websites, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar and well-known foreign universities within the various disciplines. The list of sources varies from field to field. We also consider the applicant's own suggestions for suitable reviewers or a description of suitable competence.
Generally, we use the same peer reviewer for a maximum of three consecutive years.
Impartiality and competence
Relevant reviewers will assess their impartiality for the applications we want them to assess. We ask them to pay particular attention to the points in the impartiality provisions concerning cooperation, friendship and conflict. Reviewers will not have access to applications for which they have a conflict of interest and will not participate in discussions of such applications.
Reviewers declare their level of competence based on title, objectives and summary. We encourage applicants to write these texts so that the reviewers can state their level of competence as precisely as possible. The texts should be informative for peers with general competence in the field. Before peers receive this information, they must consent to our confidentiality statement.
Peer reviewers report one of the following competence levels for each application:
- Specialist (S): The proposal is within your primary area(s) of expertise or connected to your research interests. You are well qualified to evaluate the proposal.
- Generalist (G): You have a general knowledge of the main subject of the proposal (or at least one of the main subjects if there are several). You are qualified to evaluate the proposal.
- Minor (M): You have only minor relevant expertise on the main subject(s) of the proposal.
The reviewers who will assess a grant application are defined as the referee panel. The Research Council's competence requirement is that at least two of the panel members must have generalist or specialist expertise in the grant application. If the panel has only three members, all of them must have generalist or specialist expertise in the grant application.
Information for peer reviewers
Peer reviewers receive our general guidelines for application processing in FRIPRO. The guidelines are issued before the call for proposals permits submission of grant applications. The four assessment criteria have been elaborated, together with a definition of the grading scale. Among other things, we emphasise the importance of consistent grading and the quality of feedback to applicants.
The panel members read and assess the applications they are to process, and they each submit their own preliminary assessments before the panel meets to discuss the applications. At the meeting, the panel members discuss the applications and reach a consensus-based assessment with marks awarded for each application.
Research Council employees participate in the meetings, but not in the scientific discussion. We have a guiding role and contribute to a common understanding of the assessment criteria and the grading scale, and that everyone has their say, handles conflicts of interest in line with the rules and stops discussions on matters that are outside the panel's mandate. We check that the assessment texts are in accordance with the panel's decision and meet our quality requirements. Descriptions of the requirements will be provided before the call opens for submission of grant applications.
Decisions on allocations
Approximately every two months, the administration will submit lists of applications for decision to the Portfolio Board for Ground-Breaking Research. The lists are based on rules drawn up by the portfolio board and follow the objectives of the FRIPRO scheme and the priorities set out in the calls.
The portfolio board will decide on allocations, rejections and waiting lists. The budget corresponds to the share of allocation rounds that year (normally six) and is thus independent of the number of applications that are ready for decision. This means that FRIPRO's annual budget will not be used up early in the year, even if there are many applications under consideration early in the year.
All applications below the eligibility threshold for funding for FRIPRO will be rejected. Eligible applications will either be granted, placed on a waiting list or rejected. Applications on the waiting list will participate in the competition for funding in the same way as newly assessed applications the next time the portfolio board makes a decision. There will be a limit to how long an application can remain on a waiting list before it is rejected. The waiting list function will help to even out any quality differences for applications awarded funding in different parts of the year. This will ensure that the quality of applications awarded funding is as equal as possible, regardless of when they are submitted.
Details of the decision-making process and waiting list function will be provided before the call opens for submission of applications.
Feedback to applicants
We will provide information on our website and in the newsletter about which applications have been awarded funding and statistics on applications and marks.
Applicants whose applications have been rejected will receive a letter of rejection in "My RCN Web" as soon as possible. Applicants whose applications have been granted funding will receive a letter of funding on "My RCN Web". The letter requires changes and updates before the Research Council and the Project Owner can enter into a contract.
All applicants will receive feedback in the form of marks with written justifications for the four criteria against which the panel has assessed the application, as well as information about which reviewers participated in the panel.
Messages at time of print 26 September 2023, 17:23 CEST